Clariant Masterbatches plans to open a customer design center on the East Coast by the end of the year and will add a similar center at a West Coast location in 2003.
The as-yet-undetermined locations will build on color work being done at Clariant sites in McHenry, Ill., and Phoenix.
``We are putting our resources - financial, capital equipment and our experienced people - at the customer's doorstep,'' said Jean Sirois, North American marketing director. ``We are focusing on the initial design process where the resin is selected, the color or special effect is chosen and the production parameters are established.''
Sirois added that the design stage ``is where a company can create a visually attractive package or part and avoid costly manufacturing problems downstream.''
Clariant opened its first design center in Singapore in February. Each design center will feature computerized, three-dimensional modeling, color matching, spectrophotometers and on-site rapid prototyping for blow molding and injection molding.
The East Coast site will serve automotive and packaging customers with an emphasis on blow molding prototyping. The West Coast location will cater to the electronics/business machine market, as well as appliances and construction.
Clariant Masterbatches, based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of North America's largest color concentrate makers. The firm is a unit of chemical giant Clariant SA of Muttenz, Switzerland.